The first contacts between Poland and CERN were established in 1959 when several scholarships were awarded to young Polish physicists from Cracow and Warsaw. This soon developed into a wider collaboration between CERN and Polish institutes. In 1964 Poland became an Observer state at CERN, the only country from Eastern Europe to accede to this status. In 1991, Poland became the 16th member of CERN, and thus the first Member State from the former Eastern block.
Today, high-energy physics in Poland is concentrated in six higher educational establishments and two research institutes. The biggest groups are active in Cracow and Warsaw. Polish groups have a widely recognized technical experience and good computing resources, and are well integrated in the international particle and astroparticle physics community. Strong groups participate in all LHC experiments building important parts of the equipment, such as radiation resistant silicon detectors and electronics for the inner tracking detector in the ATLAS experiment, electronics for the muon trigger in the CMS detector, straw trackers for the LHCb Outer Detector, and contributions to the PWO crystals for the ALICE PHOS detector.
More than 100 Polish engineers and technicians from Cracow and Wroclaw participated in the commissioning of the LHC. Polish industry was also involved in the construction of the LHC and its experiments.
Poland has a very active participation in the National Teachers Programme at CERN.